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Want To Be in Movies? What You Need To Know to Avoid the Sharks and Scammers

Updated on March 4, 2018
vocalcoach profile image

Audrey Hunt, author of "Anyone Can Sing," teaches us how to attain a soft, beautiful tone when we sing.

Are Acting Managers and Agents Necessary?

With over 25 years in the entertainment business, I have formed definite opinions about the role of agents and managers. I'm writing this article to both educate and protect the reader from bogus, money-hungry, out-right lying scams so prevelant here in the US.

These vultures not only think nothing of robbing wanna be actors, models, singers and comedians from their life-savings. They play on the hopes and dreams of the unsuspecting. Not only does this behavior not bother them, they are quick to boast and laugh about their long list of "sign-ups".

I have witnessed parents selling their car, taking out big loans, borrowing large somes of money from family and friends just to pay an unqualified agent his rediculous fee. Never is this more true then with bogus management representation.

Parents need to be more informed and cautious before putting their children or themselves in to the hands of clever and deceptive agents and managers.

Bogus, Money-Hungry, Scammer Talent Agents

These predators claim to be talent agents and make themselves out to be just what you need to land an audition for a movie.
These predators claim to be talent agents and make themselves out to be just what you need to land an audition for a movie. | Source

Legitimate Agents Never Charge a Fee

Remember this and spread the word to your family and friends:

  • Legitimate agents make their money only when you do. They make a percentage based on your earnings. They will never ask for an up-front fee.
  • The only time agents advertise is when they hold an "open audition" or "open call". These announcements are broadcast on the radio, in the newspaper, sometimes on the internet and occasionally on television.
  • Open auditions are rare, perhaps once a year only.
  • Reputable agents do not need to advertise for clients. Their clients are so good and so busy they do not need to advertise.


Tips to Help You When Looking For an Acting Agent

The role of a Film Agent is a major powerbroker in the industry controlling many aspects of it. Here are important tips to safeguard your selection when looking for an acting agent:

  • Agents in the music business, are involved in booking, live personal appearances and concerts.
  • Agents will hand you a contract to sign, which allows them a small percentage of your income (10%). They are only paid, when you are paid.
  • Agents must be regulated by unions such as AFM, AFTRA, and SAG. You absolutely must do your homework and check to make sure your agent has membership in each of these unions. These unions are your seal of approval for the endless list of agents available.
  • Agents do not approach a person with a promise to make them a star. Never! Yes, there are a few stories circulating around with conflicting rumors - but not true, especially in today's market.
  • These "sharks" are popular in malls where they prey upon young people, innocent and starry-eyed.
  • If these "hunters" approach you, ask for their business card and NEVER give them your personal information, like your name, phone number or address.
  • If the business card given to you has the above union names printed on the face of the card, call the unions to verify that they are members. Anyone can claim to be a member in these legitimate unions.
  • Do your homework and ask around. And parents - do talk to your children about this and keep them safe.

The William Morris Agency - Los Angeles, Ca.

William Morris Agency Los Angeles:
Los Angeles, CA, USA

get directions

Some of the greatest stars in the movie industry are signed with William Morris.

The Truth About Talent Managers

A manager used to be a person you absolutely needed to guide your career. Even if you were an established artist or a big star, managers were in big demand. Now, A manager can be just about anyone from an aspiring actors manager to a celebrities manager and anything in between.

When searching for management look for reputable qualified companies preferably one that will help you get signed with an agent. A manager will take a hefty percentage of everything that brings in the money. This may include all films, commercials, voice-overs, recordings, stage, screen, and television as well as promotional items (t-shirts, mugs, caps).

An honest manager will ask you to sign a contract and have no problem with you taking the contract to an attorney. Entertainment attorneys don't come cheap so save your money. Personally, I would not do business with a manager who doesn't insist on a contract. The contract protects you as well as your manager.

Get Educated About The Acting Business

The best thing you can do for your career is to learn everything you can about the business. Take a trip to the library and read and study everything you can find in the entertainment business. Also, keep in mind that what you learn in a manual or book, written in 1999, may have totally changed. So, keep current. Scan the internet for the latest laws, new information, and fees.

The other thing you must do is to study your craft - again and again. Always take a class to become a better actor, model or singer. When you stop studying, you stop growing.

My Favorite Actor Eddie Redmayne - Interview

Believe In Yourself ~

Not everyone "makes it" in the movie and television industry. The few who do make it are persistent, very well-prepared and sometimes have a little luck. But, I want to say this - if being an actor or a singer, is what you are all about - if it is your passion, your dream, and your very life - you must believe in yourself and never, ever give up!

Go to every audition, knock on every door, learn all you can and be prepared.

Go out there and really sell yourself - again and again, and again. Don't stop. Prove to yourself that nothing will stop you because you truly are unstoppable.

No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul. - Ingmar Bergman

© 2011 Audrey Hunt


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    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Pahrump NV

      Elsie - I would call "The Actor's Studio" in Manhattan and ask them for a referral. You can also contact top Children's Agents, but make sure they qualify as I stated in this article. Good luck!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      9 years ago from Pahrump NV

      Support Med - If an actor is enrolled in a legitimate talent agency, a manager isn't needed until the actor has a lead in a very good part in a film. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have a 12 yr daughter that want to study acting ,She has been wanting to be an actress since she was 3 yr's . She use to say mommie i want to be on T.V .Please help me i stand by her 100% .Tell me the best school ,not so expensive where i could take her so she could prepare herself .New york City area ( west side area ) .Thank you ,,,,Elsie

    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      As long as they are legit, I think both are helpful. I'm no actor, but I often hear as your article stated to learn all you can. Interesting. v/r

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      How true. And this is one aspect I am not proud of. Thanks.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      10 years ago from Guwahati, India

      It is something interesting of knowing American culture.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      cwarden - Yes, It just breaks my heart to think of all the sacrifices, hopes and dreams that the unsuspecting public are outright robbed of. I developed talent programs for a John Robert Powers franchise in California, which was an education in and of itself. I was never paid for all of my hard work and it made them millions. They finally closed down after I sued and won. :)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      10 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Very interesting Vocalcoach - I would have had no idea that this went on. I'm glad you did write about it - I know my daughter was contacted by a couple of "producers" - I told her they were only self proclaimed producers and not to waste her time. Now I'm even more certain! Thank you!

    • cwarden profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      I am so glad to read this hub. I too was in the business for a while (the boring finance side) and I just hated to hear the horror stories of "hopefuls" being taken for every last penny they had. I hope this very truthful information will find its way to someone who is about to be scammed. Rated UP with all the buttons!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      Fay - good for you! Your advice was a gift to her. A very admirable thing for you to do. Most parents that I have warned (even as their teacher), did not listen to me and got taken again and again. It is really sad - but at the same time it makes me furious! Thanks Fay.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      drbj - Well, then, we must both be off of the same tree branch - I remember him too :) Always love your comments. Like having a whole box of "See's Candy".

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      b. Malin - You are always here to give me support and a thumbs up! What more can I ask for? Sending you thank yous and a vocalcoach hug!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      Silver Poet - This is pretty much up-to-date information. There are always exceptions. The main thing is to be informed.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      tamron - Thanks for reading this and leaving your comment. Appreciate it! :)

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      hello - It's too bad that these kind of money-hungry people exsist. It makes me really mad. The only way I can fight this, is to educate others. Thanks for reading and commenting. :) vocalcoach

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      Petra - Thank you for the reminder about this advice also applying to writers. Excellent addition! Again, thank you.

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      10 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great hub; everything you said about managing artistic careers applys for writers as well - a lot of charlatans in the market ready to make a fast buck and give false hopes to aspiring writers, so "do your homework" is the best advice.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      This is a great help and advice for would-be stars. There is certainly a mafia in that sort of business.

    • tamron profile image


      10 years ago

      Well written with lots of good information! Ping Ya!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      Chatkath - I am so pleased that I am getting such great feedback from writing this hub. I almost decided not to talk about this subject, as I thought it may not be that interesting to most people. But now I see that it was a good subject after all. I'm glad to hear that your brother is still enjoying his music. Musicians experience a deep satisfaction from actively participating in music - one that others never have. a gift that only he can give to himself. What a joy that is! I love your comments, my friend. Thank you for your vote.

    • Chatkath profile image


      10 years ago from California

      This is such great information Audrey - So many talented but desperate to "make it" folks are taken advantage of without even a 2nd thought. I think the fee issue is so true for many "artist" professions, you should never have to pay them a fee, they get paid out of the money made performing typically, and anything else is cause for question?! My brother is a singer/musician who finally got a real job after years of competition and let downs. He wrote all his own music but he was told not to, going against what he really wanted to do - so he won't make a living at it but still enjoys playing. Voted up and useful.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      10 years ago

      What wonderful research into this world of entertainment...and getting it from you, Vocal coach is a plus. Rating this an Excellent Hub, thanks for sharing

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 

      10 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      I had always wondered about how it works in the movie business.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      10 years ago from south Florida

      Excellent advice, Audrey, for those who might otherwise fall prey to a talent management 'shark.'

      I particularly liked that quote by Jack Carson since I'm old enough to remember him in films and can easily visualize him saying those funny words. Thanks, m'dear.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      10 years ago

      Yet another excellent hub and very good advice. I stopped my daughter from signing my grandson up with just the kind of outfit you describe. In her excitement she was ready to shell out all kinds of fees. My conclusion was simple, "if they believed him that talented they'd represent him for nothing up-front". She followed my advice, but I think secretly felt she missed an opportunity for her little boy.

      up/very useful and awesome

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 

      10 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Vocalcoach, could I send you a couple of very short recordings so you can give me your expert opinion and advise on whether you believe I have a chance at this endeavor? I am encouraged to hear I wouldn't need a long, drawn out school commitment. I agree 100% that in order to produce a stellar demo, which is of utmost importance, a calling card so to speak, I need some expert assistance. I am networking, through a neighbor who works for a local newsstation, as she has a work friend that has been in the biz for years. I haven't met her yet, but am waiting for her to contact me. Thank you kindly for your help in this new exciting endeavor. I truly appreciate it.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      Pamela - Thanks for reading this. I was somewhat concerned that because my article applies to a specific market, I would see a drop in visitors. We will see. Really appreciate your loyalty and support. :)vocalcoach

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Pahrump NV

      Amy - Thank you for reading this and finding it helpful. I suggest that you search for an inexpensive class (some communities off very inexpensive classes for voice-overs) to be sure you are technically prepared before spending money ina recording studio. With a good instructor, you will learn a few valuable tips to really give you an "edge". Not only will you be better prepared to record a demo, but you will save money because you will save time in the studio.

      $110/hour is about right for a good, reputable studio. Do your homework, make calls or check the internet for competitive studios. Your demo is your representation and is extremely important.

      When you are practicing, make very sure your diction is clear and use vocal "coloring" to add interest. Also, be sure when you record that you don't hear yourself taking a breath. Enunciate, always opening the vowel and ending the consonant distinctly, but not pushing it.

      Let me know if I can be of help, further. Your friend, vocalcoach

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 

      10 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      That's scary, but it seems that no matter what direction someone takes, there is someone just waiting to cash in. I am trying to pursue voice-overs, not movies, but just commercial spots. I hear some say, you have to go to school and some say don't waste your money. What do you think vocalcoach? I've been practicing making tapes on my laptop, but I realize I will have to make a professional demo. I've been told that a local studio has the best reputation for producing the demo's that get the work. It's $110/hour with the help of an engineer. Since money is tight for me, I want to make every dollar count. This is a fabulous eye-opener of a read and serves as fair warning to everyone with "stars" in their eyes to watch your back! Thank you, my friend.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      10 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very inspiring hub. I am glad to know this from you. My friend, I always learn some thing "great" from each your hubs, including this one. Actually I never heard about this before, because I don't live in America. But thanks for writing this. Cheers...

      Love and peace,

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is really a very interesting hub. Thanks for the information.


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